Vet Blog

Eat This, Not That: Thanksgiving Pet Safety

November 12, 2020

There's nothing like an amazing meal, especially at Thanksgiving.

Pies and baked goods, stuffing and mashed potatoes, and did we say turkey and gravy? It's enough to make anyone salivate, including the family dog or cat.

Unfortunately, with every Thanksgiving meal comes a number of tempting dishes that are toxic to pets. The team at Highway Veterinary Hospital wants to ensure your holiday is pet emergency-free by raising awareness about the Thanksgiving foods that are bad for pets.

7 Toxic Thanksgiving Foods

When it comes to feasting on this season of thanks, most of us can expect to have a little bit of heartburn after we wake up from the post-feasting nap. But when cats and dogs ingest these foods, it can result in a veterinary visit. Here are some of the more troublesome ingredients that pets should never be given.

  • Sugar-free items containing Xylitol - Xylitol is a sugar substitute that has become prevalent in sugar-free items over the past decade. While harmless to us, it is highly toxic to pets, potentially causing liver failure. Look for Xylitol in ingredients that are marked or labeled sugarless or sugar-free, such as pastries, candy, gum, etc.
  • Turkey bones - Turkey bones, while not poisonous, are no-nos for dogs (and cats) because they can choke. Small bone fragments can cause internal bleeding or become an obstruction in the gastrointestinal system.
  • Salads and sides containing raisins and/or grapes - Grapes, raisins, and currants have been known to be quite toxic to dogs. Even one grape can create symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, and tremors.
  • Onions, leaks, and garlic - These savory ingredients are not so friendly to our pet companions. They contain compounds that cause disruption in red blood cells that can lead to anorexia. They also cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms when ingested in larger quantities.
  • Chocolate - Chocolate is one of the most common causes of dog poisoning emergencies. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine which cause diarrhea and vomiting, changes in blood pressure and pulse, and agitation.
  • Yeast dough - Yeast is the ingredient that causes bread to rise. While not toxic, this same mechanism occurs in your pet's stomach should they eat raw dough. This can create obstruction and bloat which can be fatal when not treated immediately.
  • Ham - Ham contains nitrates and sodium that lead to a variety of symptoms in fur friends, including excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, and fluid retention.

Other foods and drinks to avoid are savory foods that are spicy or seasoned, rich food containing butter, fat, cheese, and so on, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, nuts, and fruit-containing pits.

Treats for Your Sweets

We know that including your pet in the holidays is important to you, and there are plenty of ways to give safe and healthy Thanksgiving treats. Opt for:

  • A dollop of unseasoned sweet potato or yam
  • Pureed pumpkin
  • A small amount of unseasoned, deboned turkey
  • Steamed green beans or carrots
  • Berries like strawberries and blueberries

Remember to be mindful of moderation and do not give too many scraps.

Questions about Thanksgiving Pet Safety

If you have any questions about what your pet can or cannot eat, please call us. This time of great feasting doesn't have to preclude your pet from having their own tasty treats. Avoid the Thanksgiving foods that are bad for pets and have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday for your fur family.

Happy Thanksgiving from the team at Highway Vet!

We are now accepting new clients!

Don’t have time to bring your fur baby in for a visit?

Ask us about our drop-off services.

Let your pet join our team for the day for extra cuddles and love and pick them up at your convenience!

Ready to book? Book your drop-off appointment now!